Now that the college calendar is coming to an end, Apple is preparing its annual back-to-school promotion, which traditionally includes a free iPod touch or discounts on an iOS device when you buy a new MacBook. If you are planning to take advantage of this sale or are just planning to get a new iPhone or iPad with those savings from your summer job, remember to keep some cash for iTunes credit too.
The moment you enter the App Store you are going to be overwhelmed by the amount of games ranking high on the charts. Once you have played Angry Birds and spent endless nights playing Aralon, its time to think of priorities and get productive. Fortunately, there are many web services and developers who have already thought of your student needs and have the right tools ready to be downloaded.
Any student could compile an awesome list of both free and paid iOS apps you'll find useful during your studies. These could range from note-taking, dictionaries, calculators, reading tools, mobile office suites and even some resources to find inspiration. I definitely recommend Evernote for organising your notes with smart OCR recognition and cloud back up, Stanza for your books and journal articles, Dropbox as the best online storage solution between your iOS device and brand new laptop and Instapaper for saving web content to read later. Since we all have the right to disagree, I want to suggest some notable iPhone and iPad app absences in the list that deserve to be included for their overall polish and perfect fit for every student's needs.
A great app for keeping track of the grades needed in your assignments and tests. You only have to enter the desired grade your are aiming for and the app will calculate the rest. Even if you don't care much about your exams right now, using a solution like Grades 2 will motivate you throughout the year and will help you avoiding last minute stress.
An scheduling essential for students at any level, inClass helps you to plan your week mixing appointments, classes and tasks related to them. Compared with other productivity apps, I particularly like the fact that it comes with a note-taking feature and an audio recorder for both iPhone and iPad.
I remember using Papers on the Mac not so long ago to put some order to my dissertation references. Papers brings sanity to your research organising your academic texts, from journal articles to reading materials, making you forget about hard copies. The app also allows you to search academic repositories online.
When you need to make annotations on PDFs, proof your essays, revise your exam, share documents with a team or simply do some brainstorming, GoodReader is right app for the job. Its integration with online services such as Dropbox or Google Docs makes your iPad the ultimate sketchbook/notepad.
Recently launched on the App Store, OnmiOutliner comes backed by its desktop version for Mac. This is the app you need if you plan to take notes or organise your thoughts on an iPad: collect ideas, build lists, create headings, arrange items in submenus,… with all the formatting flexibility and layouts you need.
Apple's Back to School promotion is live now, offering $100 App Store and iTunes vouchers to students buying a new Mac. It's interesting to see that instead of giving free iPods, the interest is now turned to app and multimedia content on iTunes and its stores.